Events for Iowa’s high school Unified Activities partners will remain prohibited through April 30 as Governor Kim Reynolds announced an extension of school closures through that date on Thursday afternoon.
This continued response to the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) moves the previously announced potential return date from April 13 to May 1 for the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union, the Iowa High School Athletic Association, the Iowa High School Music Association, and the Iowa High School Speech Association.
Gov. Reynolds announced the extension of school closures alongside representatives from the Iowa Department of Public Health and the Iowa Department of Education. While the Department of Education and executive director Dr. Ann Lebo have announced provisions for continued learning during this period, guidance continues to prohibit mass gatherings and keep school facilities closed across Iowa.
The primary concern of all four Unified Activities organizations is the health and safety of students, schools, and their communities during this pandemic.
The IGHSAU and IHSAA are still working to offer spring and summer sports opportunities, provided they can be done safely and follow CDC, state, and local guidelines. The IHSMA and IHSSA are collaborating with member schools to provide up-to-date guidance for teachers and participants through this prohibited period.
However, schedules will continue to be assessed as this crisis develops and further announcements from the Unified Activities partners will follow recommendations of state and public health officials.
The IDPH continues to advise individuals to stay at home as much as possible and avoid gatherings of more than 10 people.
“We are committed to bringing a sense of familiarity to our young people whose school year has been so disrupted by this adjusted spring season,” IHSAA executive director Tom Keating said. “It is our hope that students return to school on the current target date and have the opportunity to participate in the activities that mean so much to them.
"Like all Iowans, we are committed to doing our part to help stop the spread of COVID-19, and we support the steps Governor Reynolds has taken to achieve that goal."
"We want to keep all of our options open moving forward to allow our students an opportunity to participate," said IGHSAU executive director Jean Berger. "We will do what we can to help plan for their eventual return to school and hold out hope that we can offer the activities that are so familiar to them and their schools.”
An updated schedule for activities will be provided Monday, April 6. The dates will provide for a May 1 return to school.